Sunday, 27 July 2014

Week 148- Tetris, wedgies and panicking the relatives...

It never ceases to amaze me how much paraphernalia you need with children. The sheer amount of stuff that accompanies them would rival a Mariah Carey entourage. 

I'm not sure if we just expand into the amount of room we have available. We had a three-door car with our daughter and would go on long journeys that involved me having to sit in the passenger seat while luggage was strategically packed around me. There was no need for an air bag in the unfortunate case of an accident as I was so tightly packed in I literally couldn't move a muscle for the duration of the journey. 

Before having our son we took what felt like a massively grown up step and bought a second-hand estate car for three hundred quid. The thinking was we'd have more than enough space for a family of four. 

What idiots. 

It turns out we just find more things to drive around with. It becomes a Tetris-style challenge. I see an inch of space and think, fantastic, you could definitely ram a scooter in that gap.  

On a recent trip to show off our new baby to the family, the car struggled to go above 60 miles an hour, creaking under the immense weight of our belongings.

As we turn up at relatives' houses you can see the panic in their eyes. When we start to unpack, it looks like we're never going to leave. First out the boot comes the three massive rucksacks, followed shortly by the baby gym, toys, potty, toilet training seat, plastic bags full of emergency food, half a library of children's books... the list goes on. 

The thing is, once it's all out of the car I can't find anything I need anyway, and the thought of having to unpack three rucksacks of clothes to find a muslin cloth makes me want to punch myself in my own face with frustration. 

I like to bill myself as a bit of an expert when it comes to packing for three people. The reality is, I get all the stuff I need for the children and throw whatever is closest to hand in a bag for me about 30 seconds before we leave the house.  

Unfortunately this means that, whilst both kids have enough clothes to last them until Christmas, I only have one pair of pants, no pyjamas, an empty can of deodorant and a pair of shorts that are so tight they'd make Miley Cyrus blush.

We have an estate car full of belongings but I still have to buy deodorant and supermarket jeans so I don't have to go around stinking of BO with a wedgy for the entirety of our trip. 

Perhaps our next vehicle purchase should be a double-decker bus. 

Maybe then I'd manage to pack enough underwear to see me through a weekend. 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Week 147- Bros, ginger biscuits and virtual keep-fit...

I think I’m more of a virtual keep-fit kind of person that an actual, real life, trainers-and-sweat woman. I could spend hours online researching ways to get your pre-baby figure back, while sitting on the sofa eating lasagne between meals.

The thing is, I thought I might have been able to get into at least one pair of trousers that I wore pre-pregnancy by now just through the power of positive thinking.

But alas, no.

Actually that’s not entirely true.

I have a pair of denim cut-off jeans circa 1993 that I can just about squeeze into, which are so awful even the Goss twins would think twice about wearing them. They’re so low-slung that I only need to bend over very slightly and I have a total builder’s behind.


Not ideal, but at least they’re not maternity jeans.

I feel a little like I’ve been holding my breath, waiting for this miraculous body transformation to just happen. And then I can start wearing all the titchy clothes I bid for on e-bay in the middle of the night while feeding my son.

Part of the problem is that I know that you burn off more calories when breastfeeding, but I can’t remember how many, so I’ve just rounded it up to the nearest thousand.

I think I got into bad eating habits during pregnancy, because a part of me thought ‘I’ve spent the majority of my adult life being conscious of what I’m eating, developing a slightly unhealthy relationship with food- so here was the chance to have nine months of eating whatever I want, bar a few soft cheeses.’

And I rose to the challenge with the enthusiasm of a two-year-old girl watching Frozen for the hundredth time.

Sadly those bi-hourly Twirls I inhaled for the best part of forty weeks are a bit tougher to shift at the other end.

It’s normally during the 2am feed that I have a moment of inspiration and start Googling mother-and-baby aerobic classes. There have been mornings when I have had at least three emails from personal trainers responding to my enquiries.

But then there’s always a reason to talk myself out of it. The weather’s been totally Biblical recently, so there’s no way I’m traipsing off to the park with a buggy to do plunges in a tropical storm.

And then there’s the Monday excuse. There’s no point in starting anything until Monday. Diets. Exercise. Financial planning. Anything, really.

So it only takes one mid-week rogue ginger biscuit and I think, ‘Right, that’s this week’s healthy living out the window. But next Monday, I’m going to totally nail it.’  

With all that it mind, I’ve recently turned my e-bay attention to fitness videos. I figured, if I can’t make it the 100 yards to the local park to join an exercise class, then I should attempt to do it in the front room instead.

I currently have two DVDs, and another coming soon in the post. The 30 Day Shred looks so terrifying I haven’t even taken the cellophane off yet.

I’ve also downloaded a range of apps that suggest different routines and ask you to submit your daily calorie intake and weekly weight.

I’ve done this religiously. Logging all the runs I planned to go on, but didn’t, and imaginary carb-free dinners I would have cooked if I’d had the time.

In a virtual fitness world, I’m totally on fire at the moment.

In fact according to My Fitness Pal I’ve lost 10 % of my body weight in the last two weeks.

I just need to transfer some of this into real life, but for the moment, well done to the virtual me!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Week 146- scurvy, ugly crying and The Goslinator's having a baby...

So. It's happened. I knew it would eventually. I was hoping it wouldn’t be while I was a hormonal, sleep-deprived mess, but there you go.

I found out at 4am, on Facebook of all things, while feeding my son.

It just made it feel so cheap.


And worst of all, I thought he’d split up with his girlfriend so I wasn’t even a bit prepared for the devastating news. Damn you, Google.

Now. I’m not a total psycho. I didn’t actually believe that I was going to meet/date/get married to/have children with The Goslinator.

But he has been a bit of a constant crush throughout parenthood.

I’d seen The Notebook like the rest of the female population several years ago.

But it wasn’t until I rewatched it when four months pregnant with my daughter that I had massive hormone rush, ugly cried for a good hour after the film had finished and thought it would be a constructive use of my time to watch the whole back catalogue of Goslo films.

My daughter’s early years are somehow interwoven with his silver screen appearances.

The first time she took a step was round the same time I watched Drive. I went to the cinema to watch Only God Forgives after her third set of injections. A friend and I saw The Place Beyond the Pines when she’d started sleeping through the night.

The list goes on.

But I knew this couldn’t go on for forever. Partly because I need to grow up and mainly because he’s stopped starring in films.

So, it’s time to man up and get over it.

I have two children. I’m attempting to write a play when they’re both asleep. I have a flat that seems to haemorrhage dirt and dust the moment I leave a room. I need to learn how to cook something other than pasta and pesto before everyone under our roof gets scurvy.

I don’t really have time for a Hollywood crush.

But it suddenly dawned on me that he had been my guilty pleasure. In the same way that, pre-children, it had been smoking/binge-drinking/dancing in clubs to bad 80s music.

And that to balance being a parent with not going nuts, I was going to have to find another ‘hobby’.

So I’ve subscribed to Netflix and am going to watch the whole of Orange is the New Black on my own.

It’s no Prisoner Cell Block H but I do feel a bit better.

And if I ever DO meet The Goslotron, we will now have parenthood in common so it’s not the end of the world.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Week 145- kissing strangers, WWF moves and learning to be a big sister...

I want to invent a piece of equipment that shouts out the warning, ‘DON’T TOUCH HIS HEAD,’ every time my daughter comes near my son. Because that would save me from repeating it about a hundred times an hour.

It’s an interesting dynamic, watching a relationship develop between siblings.

Well, it’s interesting watching how the older one reacts. The baby just has to lie there and hope that he doesn’t get squashed/ suffocated/ fed toys/sat on.

Now, I know it must be a total head-melter to be the centre of your parent’s world since birth and then suddenly, to be told: “Taa daaa, here’s a brand new human being to share your home and your parents attention with.”

But the real challenge must be the realisation that it’s not for a few days, which in the life of a two-year-old must feel like forever anyway, but that it’s permanent.

I think having a baby around was a bit of a novelty to start with.

My daughter would invite strangers in the queue of the Post Office to meet her new baby brother. She’d ask people sat on tables near us in cafes if they wanted to kiss him. Luckily no-one ever took her up on her invitation, especially as she’s totally indiscriminate when it comes to who she approaches; in fact her policy seems to be the weirder the better.

She’d been excited about his arrival from about month three of pregnancy; the childminder had been told by her about the imminent arrival before we’d even gone public (we received a sensitively written e-mail tentatively congratulating us).

But two months in, and I think she’s starting to get a tad bored. Or maybe not bored, but wanting things to hurry up a little bit. She’s been promised a brother who will play with her and so far all he’s done is lie around, smile a bit, sleep and feed.

As we were about to leave the house the other day, she suggested that it would be better if he stayed at home on his own to look after her plastic Peppa Pig guys as ‘he’ll only sleep and won’t have fun’. And the affectionate hugs are now getting a bit more like WWF moves.  
My younger sister used to drive me absolutely mental when we were little but now I speak to her every day and can’t imagine my life without her - from having a buddy on the never-ending camping trips every school holiday to having someone who can understand the complexities of your family in a way that no-one else in the world ever can.

A friend told me that giving my daughter a sibling was the best gift you can ever give.

I’ll just have to remind her of that when she’s trying to sit on his head for the millionth time.